My Primary Picks For Florida

[ Posted Monday, January 28th, 2008 – 15:14 UTC ]

Ever onwards, into the fray, we return to the latest in a series of primary "picks" columns, this time heading down to Florida to examine the Republican race. I refuse to write any Democratic picks, since they're supposed to be in the penalty box for moving their primary up sooner than February 5th. So this week, it's GOP-only.

Which is probably a good thing, since my track record on the Republican side is a lot better than my total for Democrats. I seem to be able to be more objective on the Republicans, and more biased on the Democratic side, so make of that what you will.

My most recent picks (South Carolina Democrats) were at the front of my "State of the Blog" column last Friday. Once again, I only got one out of three right (sigh). While I correctly put Obama in first place, I got second and third place reversed. I must say, Obama's margin of victory in South Carolina was pretty astonishing, getting over double Hillary Clinton's share of the vote. Eight in ten African Americans voted for Obama in South Carolina, meaning the Clinton campaign appears to have made a tactical error in focusing on race in the final days. Whether it was a strategic error remains to be seen, but I would be willing to bet that Bill's going to be on a pretty short leash from now on... or at least until after Super Duper Tsunami Tuesday.

In any case, here are the new totals:

Total correct Democratic picks so far: 3 for 12.
Total correct Republican picks so far: 8 for 15.
Total overall correct picks: 11 for 27 -- 41%.

On to the Sunshine State!


Florida Republicans

First place -- John McCain
Second place -- Mitt Romney
Third place -- Rudy Giuliani


There's a tight race for first place in Florida, and a tight race for third. Now, Florida is a winner-take-all state when it comes to Republican delegates, so winning first (even by only a few votes) is significant here because second and third place get nothing for their efforts.

The race for the winner's circle is between Mitt Romney and the newly resurgent (pun intended) John McCain. The "Republican Establishment" still hasn't really decided which of these two it wants as a frontrunner, since neither one excites the right's ideologues very much. They are both flawed candidates in the eyes of the party, so they're in essence collectively scratching their heads trying to figure out which one they dislike the least.

But locally, John McCain has won the endorsement of the popular Republican governor and a respected Republican senator as well, which I am betting is going to tip the scales in his favor. Also, McCain's stance on immigration hurts him less in Florida than it does elsewhere, due to the large Republican Latino vote (mostly Miami Cubans). Romney and McCain have both seen their poll numbers skyrocket since their other victories on the campaign trail, and most polls are calling the race a statistical tie (one way or the other) the day before the voting actually begins. So this race truly could go either way. But I'm betting on John McCain to pull it out in the end.

The race for third is an interesting one as well. Rudy Giuliani has sunk over twenty million dollars into his bid for the Oval Office, and third place in Florida is likely going to be the best thing he's going to have to show for his effort. If I was a big-money backer of "America's Mayor," I think I'd want my money back right about now! Poor Rudy. And poor us -- Giuliani would have been enormous fun to run against in the general election. He would have been a piece of cake for just about any Democrat to beat -- since he doesn't just have "a skeleton or two" in the closet, he actually has to rent storage space for the boneyard of scandals he drags around with him.

While McCain and Romney's Florida poll numbers have climbed in the past few weeks, Giuliani and Mike Huckabee have both seen their numbers plummet. The only question is whose support has cratered more. Third place in this race is going to belong to whichever one desperately convinces enough voters to stick with him to the end. While I would normally favor Huckabee, I just feel so sorry for Rudy here that I'm going to have to call third place for him. Because, one way or another, Rudy's heading back to New York within the next few days. Which will give him plenty of time to keep up on the progress of Bernie Kerik's upcoming trial. Everyone wave "bye-bye" to Rudy!

[Sorry, I think my keyboard was inappropriately set to "extra-snarky" there. I think I've fixed the problem now... ahem.]

Anyway, those are my picks... what are yours?


[Previous states' picks:]

[Iowa] [New Hampshire and mea culpa] [Michigan (R)] [Nevada] [South Carolina (R)] [South Carolina (D)]


Cross-posted at The Huffington Post


-- Chris Weigant


6 Comments on “My Primary Picks For Florida”

  1. [1] 
    fstanley wrote:

    I will be glad to see the back of Rudy Giuliani after tomorrow but he has such a big ego it might be hard to get him to quit the race.

    I think everyone wants to stay in the game until super Tuesday and then we will see what we will see.


  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    Barring any dirty tricks from the Dem Candidate who is known for dirty tricks, it's beginning to look like my worst fear (election wise) is going to come to pass..

    A Obama vs McCain General Election.

    Those who know me know that I am the kinda person who likes everything "nice" and polite. Americans forgetting party and working together for the betterment of America. I honestly believe Obama can bring that to fruition.

    On the other hand, McCain's National Security credentials are impeccable and Obama is a babe in the woods when it comes to foreign policy and the external dangers our country faces.

    So, my vote will probably rest on who will be Obama's pick for SecDef (maybe McCain!? :) ) and National Security Advisor.

    In my not so humble opinion, a great leader is not someone who knows and can do everything. A great leader is someone who knows his own limitations and surrounds himself with honorable reliable people who can shore up his own deficiencies.

    If Obama can show me that he has the intelligence and just plain common sense to pick a good National Security team, he has my vote.

    If he plays politics with these selections or is just plain stoopid, then McCain will get my vote.

    Just my 2 cents worth..


  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    OH, and just so I am not completely off topic :) McCain will take FL. Guiliani and (maybe)Huckabee will remain in the race til the convention so as to award their delegates to McCain..

    Question, though..

    What happens to a candidate's delegates if the candidate bails? Huckabee has 7 delegates. If he bails after FL, are those delegates released to vote for whomever they choose at the Convention??


  4. [4] 
    benskull wrote:

    I'm glad you didn't do the dem picks for FL. I'm in FL, so I'm pretty pissed about the "punishment". I dont think it did anything but punish themselves. And piss people off. This election is too important, and not showing in FL will lose some of the on the fence voters. Bad strategy. Oh well. I made it and cast my vote.

  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Stan -

    I think you're right about candidates wanting to stay in until Super Duper Tsunami Tuesday, but I think some of them may just run out of money. I think Giuliani will announce by tomorrow that he's out of the race.

    Michale -

    I still think Romney and Hillary are in the hunt, so I'm not as certain it will be Obama v. McCain. See my column today for some speculation, but I didn't directly address your concern (SecDef and NSA). How about Wes Clark or even Senator Webb for either of those? What do you think?

    As for your convention question, the way it goes is thus: First round of voting, everyone votes for who they are pledged to. Since the candidates mostly drop out very early in the race, sometimes this means a nominee comes out of the first round of voting cleanly. After the first round, if there is still nobody with a majority, in the second round the delegates are released and those for Fred Thompson (for instance) would be free to vote for whoever Fred decides to back. But I also believe that in such a second round, it is up to the delegates themselves (EVERYBODY's delegates) to decide who to vote for, so it could become a free-for-all.

    At least that's how I believe it works, but there may be minor differences between the parties and the rules.

    benskull -

    My condolences for your vote being essentially worthless. But Hillary has said she's going to fight at the convention to get FL and Michigan delegates recognized. Now, this may be meaningless (if there's a clear nominee), or it may be crucial (if those states could put her over the top). So we'll see how it works out. But then I wouldn't be too annoyed -- FL is going to be crucial for the general election, so you're vote will eventually be courted by all sides... and (hopefully) carefully counted.


  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:


    How about Wes Clark or even Senator Webb for either of those? What do you think?

    I would be VERY happy with Webb as SecDef. I believe Clark is too close to Clinton to be effective for Obama. But that was a while ago and his attitudes may have changed.


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